-395

Update 1

I’ve restored the profile age to all and fixed a few bugs y’all reported. I’ll be addressing individual answers as best as I can.

Original post

On our way to a fully responsive Stack Overflow, we just shipped some changes to the user profile. We won’t be enabling responsiveness just yet, but the top portion will be ready to be squishy.

I hope these changes are low impact on our way to a fully responsive profile. Think of this as more a realignment than a redesign.

Some changes that you’ll see immediately:

  1. Basic reach-related stats moved to underneath the avatar near reputation.
  2. Various links and other stats are now under the display name and some stats behind are only viewable by you or a moderator.
  3. We got rid of the “Apparently, this user prefers to keep an air of mystery about them”, instead showing no biography. If it’s your profile and you don’t have a biography, we show a call to action to add one.
  4. We’ve added an Edit profile button under the avatar if you’re a moderator or you’re viewing your own profile.
  5. Biographies now have way more room horizontally, but we still cap to vertical scrolling.
  6. The consecutive visit calendar UI has gone away. This is some super legacy UI that isn’t remotely mobile-friendly. The statistic will continue to be displayed for badge-earning purposes, but I think it’s a potentially toxic metric.
  7. Dropped the profile views metric entirely. It’s a vanity metric and we don’t think it’s worth keeping around.

Before

Profile before

After

Profile after

42
  • 18
    If someone hasn't filled in their profile information, it just looks blank. Would it be feasible to move other information up instead?
    – user
    Aug 5 '21 at 22:14
  • 143
    Why is the consecutive visit calendar potentially toxic?
    – hkotsubo
    Aug 5 '21 at 22:17
  • 215
    I am very saddened by the loss of the calendar! As a moderator on Stack Overflow, I regularly made use of that when investigating potential fraud. :-( Aug 5 '21 at 22:20
  • 107
    @AaronShekey But there are two badges (Enthusiast and Fanatic) that explicitly encourage consecutive visits Aug 5 '21 at 22:27
  • 38
    There's lots of empty space on the right side of the screen now.. You're forcing people to scroll. What's the point of that? Aug 5 '21 at 22:30
  • 43
    @AaronShekey I think you may have been assuming that that statistic could be viewed publicly, and based your decision around that. However, that's never actually been the case (unless the user chose to make the Enthusiast or Fanatic badge their "next badge to track"): it could only ever be viewed by the user themselves and moderators, from the beginning. Aug 5 '21 at 22:31
  • 145
    Why was the length of time the user has been a site member removed from public view? (Why isn't it mentioned in your post?) Aug 5 '21 at 22:51
  • 27
    Do not default my profile to prompting me to add an about me.
    – Kevin B
    Aug 5 '21 at 23:18
  • 58
    @Aaron All the gamification system used on SE sites has the potential to lead to compulsive behavior. I'd say that IMO the "hunt" for rep points and badges has much more potential to do that than streaks - I've seen many cases of those (people addicted to the site), and all were because of rep or other stats (none was because of consecutive visit count). But I guess you won't remove gamification, right? Anyway, please consider the other comments, that point some genuine uses of the visit count.
    – hkotsubo
    Aug 5 '21 at 23:34
  • 42
    @AaronShekey I'm a huge fan of the work you've done on SE (I was wrong and regret having criticized the quote change in my first ever post here). But I just can't wrap my head around this one, seems like a loss for wide screen users. Putting a metric on it, density just got worst (info items per inch) at the questionable gain of a vacuum on the right side.
    – bad_coder
    Aug 6 '21 at 1:00
  • 66
    If you've gone and made this network-wide already, at least make this post featured. Aug 6 '21 at 8:13
  • 22
    Just reading all the comments above now; "This layout is transitional" ...why was this pushed to production if it is only a transitional layout? That means you have another layout planned... but you have internal builds you can use to continue working on this and then just push the final layout to production when it's done. Pushing a WIP to production servers no purpose other than to confuse people and upset them, unnecessarily so.
    – TylerH
    Aug 6 '21 at 16:12
  • 23
    It's so strange to me that y'all think the award dates from some badges that aren't even the ones I would care to showcase is information valuable enough to take up about a third of all the space dedicated to tags on my profile page even though clicking on the tags will display all that information and more, but that the number of people who interacted with my profile is just a "vanity" stat. Why would I care more about your made-up fame-by-proximity "reached" stat more than the number of people who actually clicked on my profile?
    – ColleenV
    Aug 6 '21 at 17:21
  • 28
    I've created a userscript that brings back the 'Member since', 'profile views' and 'Last seen' info: LegacyProfiles
    – Spectric
    Aug 6 '21 at 17:56
  • 60
    "We've actually had quite a few complaints in the past that a "Last seen" indicator public visible is a creepy and intrusive thing to have on a user profile. So I imagine the disappointment will be very 50/50 here" - if it is 50/50 why did you change it then, do you like the other 50% more, are they more valuable, are they complaining louder?
    – luk2302
    Aug 7 '21 at 14:55

45 Answers 45

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2
17

"Edit Profile" does not work on meta sites and instead directs the user to their meta activity tab.

7
  • 1
    It works on MSE alright, I just used it.
    – Luuklag
    Aug 6 '21 at 8:09
  • 5
    @Luuklag Except this meta as its meta is itself. Aug 6 '21 at 8:10
  • 1
    The "Edit Profile" link on the meta site probably shouldn't be there at all. (I don't recall being able to edit the profile on the meta site previously - it's the same as the main site.)
    – MrWhite
    Aug 6 '21 at 8:34
  • 2
    Don't remember that either, but does not change the fact that it clearly does not function as a user would expect the "edit profile" button to work :) It would be nice for it to stay but redirect to the main site to edit or, better yet, allow editing without any redirects. Aug 6 '21 at 8:54
  • 1
    This hasn't changed. You can't edit your child meta profile separately from the main site's profile so we redirect you to your main profile edit page.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Aug 6 '21 at 12:30
  • 11
    @Catija The problem is that it directs me to the meta activity tab, not the edit page on main. Aug 6 '21 at 13:42
  • 4
    This should be fixed, lemme know if I messed it up.
    – Aaron Shekey StaffMod
    Aug 10 '21 at 20:15
16

The profile picture is not being properly sized.

Previously, all profile pictures had fixed width and height.

See my profile. Just for reference:

I should note that the picture was taken from Unsplash.

4
  • 1
    Yes. My photo was always have fixed size (Square) after this UI update, my profile photo became Rectangle (It is cropped into Square now). I would also note that my profile is also taken from Unsplash. ;) Aug 10 '21 at 23:00
  • 12
    That... actually looks kinda cool lol Aug 11 '21 at 1:58
  • The profile photo is an improvement IMO. My profile photo (not the avatar which is tiny) used to be squished, it's now normal-sized.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 11 '21 at 7:03
  • 3
    I mean, that's one way to fix the empty space below the avatar!
    – zcoop98
    Aug 11 '21 at 13:56
15

I really love to see you put the effort into making these pages responsive. Kudos to you, Aaron!

I have some comments, though. As you can see here, I pulled up the live version (on the left) and a copy from the internet archive on the right, both in an incognito screen.

With your change you introduced some extra rows of white spacing at the top, and I would rather see that gone. SE already uses way too few of its real estate for actual information (yes, I'm looking at you, review pages).

Also, the profile image became bigger. In the old case, it felt more balanced than it does now, and I would love to see it shrink a bit again.

Profile page screenshot comparison

At the same time (I was digging in the CSS, yes blame me for that) I see you introduced a rather large bottom margin on the user card, so that there now is a rather large gap between class="profile-avatar d-flex fd-column ai-center s-card bar-md p12" and class="row d-flex gs24" (the bit with your profile picture and the bit with your communities). The top part has a bottom margin set of 48 pixels. Could you reduce that to something less, like 16 or so?

0
14

By grouping reputation, reached, answers and questions on the left of the profile page, the reputation isn't highlighted from these three other metrics anymore, while being more important than those. I would advise to highlight reputation more. (In the previous design, it had this kind of highlight by being separately displayed)

13

Too much real estate assigned to "about me"

Since this is more of an wiki/forum/etc. than a social network, I don't get why so much space is dedicated to "about me".

When I visit someone's profile I want to see their best answers/questions, expertise tags and such stats. Now I have to scroll a bunch to get there.

In my opinion you would do a great job by simply pushing the "about me" section to the bottom.

2
  • 17
    It's a profile. It's the one thing you get to personalize. If you want to see their activity, go to the Activity page.
    – Ryan M
    Aug 6 '21 at 2:15
  • 2
    @RyanM Then perhaps when clicking someone's name we should be taken directly to "activity", not to "profile".
    – LoremIpsum
    Aug 6 '21 at 11:34
13

Put back "Basic reach-related stats" please

I have got 3 reasons for it:

  1. Tell me what is the most important info for an average user: number of answers, questions, reached people or reputation? Sure, the last one! That's why it must be written in large letters and take up all place underneath the avatar. When I want to understand whether a user has proven himself, I don't look at the duration of his/her stay on the site, Iэm interested in reputation. This is the main parameter! Reputation displays the level of being reputable.
  2. I mostly use StackOverflow in Russian. One string from new profile hasn't been translated yet: "reached". The thing is that it cannot be translated in one word! Only two words (14 characters totally). Thus the second one will either be moved to the second line (would look awkward), or we'll get a long string that doesn't fit the profile block. When number of reached people had been displayed on the right side of the screen, there had been enough room there for as many words as required.
  3. It's been mentioned thousand of times, but it won't prevent from repeating: TOO MUCH EMPTY SPACE ON THE RIGHT!. All the info you pushed underneath the avatar used to be placed on the right! Now it's empty! What's the point of empty space on the screen? Why not put signs (golden/silver/bronze) there in a column? It'd look naturally, would take some place and it woundn't be too difficult to get used to new position. It can be written (as it used to be) in grey color in order not to attract too much attention.
5
  • Point 3 has already been adressed by Aaron a few times before. This is an intermediate step into making this page responsive, so nothing is final yet in that perspective.
    – Luuklag
    Aug 6 '21 at 19:23
  • Point 2 has also been addressed in another answer. Regarding point 1, the reputation is already displayed in the user's "signature/badge" so there's rarely a need to go to the user's profile to see this?
    – MrWhite
    Aug 6 '21 at 19:30
  • 2
    @MrWhite Have you read that "another answer"? That guy (a very active user of ruSO) wrote that there is NO "source strings to translate". It means that string cannot be translated via ru.traducir.win. When we'll get an opportunity to translate it, then point 2 will became relevant. We'll have an opportunity to translate it, but won't be able to do it, because there is not enough space for 2 words (5 character + space + 8 characters): "Людей затронул". This translation of "reached" has been used before. Aug 6 '21 at 19:40
  • 1
    Regarding point 1, ok, then, let's just delete reputation from profile page! I repeat: reputation is undoubtedly the MOST important parameter on profile page. It must either either be in big letters, or not be at all, I mean not be displayed (that's silly!) Aug 6 '21 at 19:43
  • 1
    Point 2 is indeed relevant, and goes to show that time and time again, Stack Exchange still doesn’t develop features with internationalization in mind. Aug 14 '21 at 6:21
12

I just remembered that I can easily see "Last seen" for every account someone has (unless that account has been hidden-don't get me started on opt-out versus opt-in) on the network by looking at the "accounts" tab in someone's network profile.

screenshot of part of the page linked above showing "last seen" next to each account

If the reduced granularity there somehow makes it less creepy even though it lets people see where you hang out on the network, why not include that same statistic in someone's profile for a particular site? If you think "last seen" is inherently creepy though, you should fix it everywhere, not just in the place where it's most useful.

7
  • There's the possibility that they just forgot about this. But because someone reminded them, it will be gone in the next patch. Aug 13 '21 at 19:29
  • 7
    @Unconsidered If the company intends to remove "last seen" because they've thought about it and feel it is a privacy issue, they should actually remove it instead of doing a half-assed "let's take it out of this one place where it's most convenient". Using the-work-around-that-shall-not-be-mentioned-lest-someone-patch-it is rarely a good long term solution. That just makes it easier to boil the frog.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 13 '21 at 19:40
  • The main stackexchange.com site contains lots of bugs and legacy code; it’s not as actively maintained as the main parts of Stack Exchange. Aug 14 '21 at 4:46
  • @SebastianSimon Which is a shame, because it has features that are very useful, like network-wide search and being able to see all of your bookmarks in one place. I’m not sure why you mentioned it though.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 14 '21 at 10:29
  • 1
    @ColleenV Sorry, I misread your answer as a suggestion to change the “last seen” metric on the network profile, in addition to the individual profile pages. With my comment, I was trying to imply that a change on the network profile would likely be out of scope for these responsiveness changes. Aug 14 '21 at 11:32
  • 1
    @SebastianSimon Ah I see. What I meant to convey is that it should either be removed from everywhere, or if the “last seen” on the network profile is OK, that version of “last seen” should replace the “last seen” that was removed from the site specific profiles. Do you see any way I could rephrase to make my post less likely to be misread?
    – ColleenV
    Aug 14 '21 at 12:58
  • @ColleenV I think your comment clarifies everything. I’m not sure how or why I misread the answer initially. Aug 15 '21 at 17:17
11

Aww, I liked the old design better!

It would be nicer if there was a setting to enable the old profile design.

Like this:
screenshot

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  • 3
    Considering the old design wasn't responsive, I'm pretty sure this is unfeasible.
    – Mast
    Aug 6 '21 at 10:19
  • 9
    @Mast That could be part of what the user is choosing. OTOH, the old layout could be made to be responsive.
    – Makyen
    Aug 6 '21 at 12:14
  • 4
    Definitely Useful +1. It will help people complete their life. Aug 6 '21 at 17:20
  • 2
    This would be the best option. You like the old design? Choose it! Don't you? Try the new! Aug 10 '21 at 8:44
10

Dropped the profile views metric entirely. It’s a vanity metric and we don’t think it’s worth keeping around.

Just pointing out that on the iOS Stack Exchange app, the information still shows:

Preview

I know that the iOS app isn't supported anymore, but some features use the Stack Exchange API, so, will this be removed? And if this feature does use the API, is there a way we can query the information?

9

It seems that "answers" (ответы) uses single and incorrect form in terms of localization purposes.

incorrect answers form

The correct translation should rely on the following forms:

  • one / ответ
  • two / ответа
  • many / ответов

Answers section looks fine.

Related question on ruSO.meta: Не та форма у числа ответов в профиле

At the same time if this entire block purpose is to represent a short form of data from the user activity tab:

User activity tab

Then the "answers" (ответы) is correct form and the "questions" (вопросов) is wrong. So before the fixing we have to decide which type of sentences will be desired in result.

Better (and universal) solution would be to add a context for source strings so each non-English site translation team can choose what to use independently of other localized sites and even main English one.

7

The badge summary showing badge counts of each colour below the user profile picture does not appear if the user hasn't got at least one badge of each colour.

1
  • In fact, since the big blocks have been moved to the top of the page they are quite redundant as well.
    – EvgenKo423
    Aug 9 '21 at 10:07
6

The borders on everything in the profile page (#d6d9dc) are darker than they are in the activity page (#e4e6e8).

Also, the gray behind the profile picture (#eef0f1) is darker than the gray in the three boxes at the top of the activity page (#fafafb).

1

The Questions, Answers, People Reached, and Reputation are in different places

image

In the beginning it was:

Profile Picture Username X Questions X Answers X People Reached
X reputation About Me Some detail Some detail Some Detail

I took a look at the image above, and I thought the user had 11 questions and 25 answers.

Please correct the layout.

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  • 10
    Just because you misread it, doesn't mean it's bad. It seems this is just resistance to change. Anyone coming to the profile who has never seen it before will read it fine. You just need some time to get used to it.
    – DavidG
    Aug 6 '21 at 16:32
-6

Less useful (or maybe useless) labels on User Profile:

  • Staff

    Reason: If Staff inherits from Moderator (Every Staff is a Moderator) and we trust Moderator then the Staff label is no longer needed. They can optionally declare that they are Staff by writing on the description box of the profile page.

  • Silver and Bronze

    Reason: Silver and Bronze counting labels are less interesting than the other two labels Reputation Score and Gold labels. I strongly believe other people don't pay much attention to Silver and Bronze labels whenever Reputation Score and Gold labels are displayed.

  • Reached

The most useful label that must be restored is Profile Views label from which I can know how many times my profile gets viewed. :-)

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  • 3
    How is Staff a "useless" label? Isn't it useful to know that a person is part of the staff? Aug 18 '21 at 0:04
  • @Sabito錆兎: For daily usage Staff label is not often required. It just adds an additional burden to SQL queries which in turn degrade the site responsiveness. Moderator is the most useful one and it is sufficient to handle everything in daily usage. In addition to that, Staff should be hidden for the sake of company privacy. :-) Aug 18 '21 at 6:51
  • 2
    Staff should be hidden for the sake of company privacy -- On meta, if someone responds to a feature-request how are other users supposed to know if this is some random user or someone who can actually influence the code-base, ie, staff? Also, Staff has been visible for quite a long time and I don't know of any instance where "company privacy" was raised as a concern any more than "moderator privacy" Aug 18 '21 at 6:59
  • @Sabito錆兎: If every Staff must also be a Moderator and the Moderator is trusted by the community, then the label Staff is no longer needed. They can optionally declare that they are Staff on their description boxes of the profile page. Here we can avoid querying database for Staff label, save server resources which in turn improve site responsiveness. :-) Aug 18 '21 at 9:43
  • 4
    I don't get how badge counts are useless either. Also, there's staff with no mod diamonds, and mods who arn't staff. And sometimes staff need to say things that are authoritative, and it would save on confusion.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Aug 18 '21 at 9:55
  • @JourneymanGeek: Silver and Bronze counting labels are less interesting than the other two labels Reputation Score and Gold labels. I strongly believe other people don't pay much attention to Silver and Bronze labels whenever Reputation Score and Gold labels are displayed. Aug 18 '21 at 10:06
-32

I think removing the "last seen" field is a good idea, the previous implementation simply leaks too granular information and allows a sufficiently determined person to track detailed access patterns for a specific user. I also think this fits with the focus on posts and not users that SE sites have, we're not a social network. So I want to encourage you to keep this change and leave this field removed.

The reason some people find this field creepy is that it exposes entirely passive behaviour that people tend to view as private such as simply browsing the site. This kind of information is simply not something that is anyone else's business. Of course it's useful to know if another user has visited the site recently, but that still doesn't mean that everyone is automatically entitled to that information. I used that field myself to check if a user could have seen my reply/comment/whatever, but I still want this field gone because it's actually none of my business. In the end it doesn't actually tell me whether a user has seen my post or comment, and it certainly doesn't entitle me to a response in any case.

The "last seen" is not yet removed from the API, which I think you should certainly do as well. As long as it's still accessible the privacy implications remain.

Removing the calender is a good change in my opinion as well, but doesn't go far enough. You really need to retire the Fanatic and Enthusiast badges as well if you want to remove the "pressure" to log in daily. I have those badges on plenty of sites, but they're really not that fun unless you get them without paying attention. Missing them due to UTC date handling weirdness is just a frustrating experience for something that actually doesn't matter.

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  • 11
    I disagree that "detailed access patterns" are really that private anyway; chat leaks a whole lot of that stuff by design, and knowing when someone's likely to be online tells you almost nothing about them. Even if you know their precise sleep schedule, at most it gives you a general indication of what time zone they're in, with a few hours' uncertainty. Knowing roughly how long it's been since a user was active is very useful in some situations, so while I think decreasing the precision to maybe a day or so could be good, getting rid of it just feels like an unnecessary overreaction. Aug 6 '21 at 18:20
  • 6
    I'm in trepidation at the thought of removing the Enthusiast and Fanatic badges, which I'm determined to earn.
    – user1035193
    Aug 6 '21 at 18:22
  • 15
    It does indeed leak a lot of information. However, it has been in effect for 13 years (and probably with more than one meta request for it to be changed/disabled). Why remove it under the disguise of a UI refactoring? Aug 6 '21 at 18:32
  • 15
    I would support reducing the granularity of the "last seen" to a day or even 12 hours, but I don't support removing all indication of whether someone has been recently active on a site. Heck, even a "mood ring" type indicator that faded away as time passed and reset as soon as someone interacted with a site would be better than nothing.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 6 '21 at 19:55
  • 2
    @ColleenV I think the suggestion to only count actions on the site for this is probably the best one. The main problem with this indicator is that it exposes entirely passive behaviour, active behaviour like posting or commenting is already public anyway. Aug 6 '21 at 19:56
  • 10
    Yes, but it's useful to know if someone has been keeping up with the site regardless of whether they have the ability to do reviews, etc. I don't think voting should count for tracking recent interactions, because there are already people who think they can tell who is downvoting them by watching someone's profile, but maybe clicking other buttons instead of just page loads would work.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 6 '21 at 20:00
  • 5
    I use both the "last seen" and the "member since" fields. If the former is not reliable, then don't remove it, fix it!
    – WJS
    Aug 7 '21 at 2:02
  • 1
    What? I'll lose Fanatic on Stack Overflow? Aug 8 '21 at 1:41
  • 2
    @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q Just because something has been around for many years isn't an argument to leave it there. It's a creepy metric - I don't want people to know when I was last here, and there are many people with even stronger, more visceral and life changing reasons for wanting it gone.
    – DavidG
    Aug 9 '21 at 12:56
  • 1
    I've been thinking about this privacy issue a bit and apart from the argument that it's “creepy”, I've not seen anything that tells me why. For example, I now know that the last comment by DavidG was posted 18 hours ago. What do I do with that information? Do I write him a personal email? Contact him via LinkedIn. Do I search for a developer in the Newcastle area? I suppose I could even message them on Twitter but this I could do anytime because of links they chose to post on their profile.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 10 '21 at 7:27
  • 2
    I have a good deal of information about @DavidG because of what is written on your profile page not because I read you were "last seen" 18 hours ago. If someone doesn't want anyone to know when they last logged one, I would think there are many feasible workarounds, especially for a developer, to use. Can someone please give a reason why the "last seen" feature is an invasion of privacy? How is that data different from posting an answer or a comment which comes complete with edit and time stamps?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 10 '21 at 7:35
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA if I query that data regularly I can create a complete profile of when you visit SE sites and which ones specifically. The main privacy argument is not really about a user just looking at the field once, but actually collecting the data systematically. This kind of systematic data collection could e.g. indicate when you're on vacation because your access pattern are different. Aug 10 '21 at 7:58
  • 3
    @MadScientist “This kind of systematic data collection could e.g. indicate when you're on vacation because your access pattern are different.” People bring their mobiles/cells on vacation. There's a user who recently bragged about logging on every single day for the last eleven years. If a user doesn't want their employer to know they were on SE instead of working there are simple solutions out there! :) For example it's possible to browse as a visitor or offline.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 10 '21 at 8:12
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA But the access patterns at work and at home/on vacation are likely different. I'm not saying this is incredibly harmful information, it's potentially problematic in some cases in combination with other information, but a privacy argument doesn't actually require this information to be harmful to me when public. The information about which sites I browse when is simply none of your business, that is sufficient reason for me to remove this indicator. Aug 10 '21 at 8:19
  • 3
    SE allows users to hide accounts. You might see I have 8 accounts when in actual fact I may have 100. SE also allows users to set up multiple accounts. SE allows users to just lurk and never post a single thing for years. If I want to guard my privacy, i.e. it's nobody's business what I do in my work/spare time, SE gives me plenty of tools to do precisely that.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 10 '21 at 8:22
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